Would Alexander the Great approve?After speculations weather the Turkish airport management company TAV would takeover Macedonia’s 2 airports and invest millions in them as well as construct a new cargo airport, the company has finally publicly announced it has postponed its takeover until 2010. The delay was announced publically on Monday by Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, who is currently in Macedonia. Answering to a journalist’s question, Hisarciklioglu said that TAV's management has assured him in a phone conversation that the company "is not cancelling the project in any case, but it is expected to be launched in early 2010". “TAV is a successful company in Turkey managing and building airports. It manages airports in many other countries including Georgia, Qatar, Egypt and Tunisia”, Hisarciklioglu said.
This is the second time that TAV has postponed its project to modernize Macedonia's two airports as a result of the global economic crisis. In December last year, the Turkish company failed to secure credits for the start of the 200 million Euro investments and postponed it for this September. The deal signed between TAV and the Macedonian government means that TAV has to construct a completely new modern terminal at Skopje Airport with the existing runway being enlarged while communal infrastructure, a car park and a cargo building would be built together with the main project. Meanwhile, Ohrid Airport would go under complete reconstruction and modernization with a new car park, cargo building and VIP section to be built. Finally, the project outlines that a cargo terminal would be built in Štip in Eastern Macedonia. Štip Airport which would be built within 3 years, according to the project guidelines, would be an alternative civilian airport for Skopje as well, with the possibility to become the country’s main airport within the next 20 years. The project in Ohrid would take a year to be complete while the Skopje project would take a few years.
The TAV postponement is not good news for certain Macedonian politicians who trumpeted the deal promising new employment for thousands of people. Many believe that TAV’s promise to launch the mass investment next year will also be delayed.